To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the
USAF, our SMW2017 theme display features many of the display teams formed by
various units of the United States Air Forces around the World. In effect, our
display was an addendum to the "Scale ModelWorld BIG Display" which this year
featured a comprehensive history of the entire USAF, hosted by our friends, the
IPMS(UK) U.S. Air Force S.I.G.
(Photos of their display can be seen
In the early days of the newly-formed United
States Air Force, there were numerous official and semi-official display teams
formed by various units - in fact, there were a few that were formed even prior
to the inception of the USAF on 18th September 1947.
However, once the Thunderbirds were
established in 1953 and made the official team representing all of the USAF,
then one by one, all of the other teams were disbanded within a pretty short
space of time. On rare occasions in later years, there were the odd few teams
which formed very briefly, often just for "one-off" appearances at the Base
Open House days and similar occasions - but the Thunderbirds remain the only
official team of the USAF - America's "Ambassadors in Blue".
Over in Europe there was a similar situation
: In the 1950's, the Thunderbirds had no practical way to "cross the Pond" to
represent the U.S. Air Force in Europe and be able to perform for all the USAF
Service personnel stationed at the various European air bases. So, the
Skyblazers were charged as the official team representing the USAFE, though
that name and title was passed around amongst several different squadrons and
air bases during their career. The Skyblazers lasted longer than most of their
counterparts in the continental USA, but once the Thunderbirds got mid-air
refueling capacity in their F-100C's and thus, the ability to fly across the
Atlantic, the Skyblazers too were disbanded.
Our display features many of the display
teams formed by various units of the U.S. Air Forces, with a special homage to
the Thunderbirds. The backboards to the display pay tribute to the
people - the pilots and crew instrumental in the various teams - so
often overlooked by modellers when we get completely caught up in research of
the aircraft and colour schemes, etc.
The whole display was presented on an area
of approximately 18 feet x 4.5 feet (5.8m x 1.5m) of table space. A total of 91
models are on the entire display :
There are 50 models in the USAF theme
(one in 1/32nd scale, three in 1/48th scale and the rest in 1/72nd scale), with
a further 41 on the remainder of the display (two in 1/32nd scale, four in
1/48th scale. one in 1/144th scale and the rest in 1/72nd scale). They were
built by 12 of our members.